Sicily has been at the crossroads of the Mediterranean for thousands of years. As close to Africa as it is to many parts of Europe, and directly astride major sea routes, it has been a convenient landfall for both merchants and warriors. Its invasion in the year 827 A.D. by Muslim armies from North Africa set the stage for a fascinating interplay of cultures. As these Arab and Berber soldiers slowly conquered Sicily and extended their reach to parts of the Italian mainland, they came in contact with, and for some two hundred years ruled over, Greek-speaking Orthodox Christians loyal to the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople, Latin-speaking Christians obedient to the pope in Rome, and small but significant communities of Jews.
As the fortunes of attackers and defenders ebbed and flowed, fortresses and castles surrendered, cities and towns changed hands repeatedly, and local populations found themselves subject to first one and then another ruler, sometimes in quick succession. Despite the often brutal violence, victors and vanquished managed an uneasy accommodation in which different languages, multiple religions, and several ethnicities could coexist.
Adding themselves to this mix, groups of Norman mercenaries arrived in southern Italy early in the eleventh century. They quickly found employment with one or another of the local Latin-speaking Longobard princes who were in constant conflict with each other and who also had to contend with a Greek-speaking Byzantine empire that was trying to expand its territory on the Italian mainland. The descendants of Viking raiders who had settled in the French province of Normandy, and kin to those who invaded England under William the Conqueror in the year 1066, these Normans, or Norsemen, were fierce fighters and soon began to accumulate power and influence in the Italian south. Muslims remained in control of Sicily, but the Normans saw their prospects improve with the arrival of Robert de Hauteville, a military leader of great energy and ability known to history as Robert Guiscard, or Robert “the shrewd one.” With his younger brother Roger, later known as the Great Count, he eventually conquered Sicily and large parts of southern Italy.
Roger’s descendants Roger II, William I, and William II ruled in Sicily as kings until the late twelfth century. Very sympathetic to Muslim culture, in their dress and in their tastes they were more like Oriental potentates than European monarchs. Served by a civil bureaucracy largely staffed by Muslims that drafted documents in Latin, Greek, and Arabic, these Normans presided over a monumental building program that produced some of the most breathtakingly beautiful mosaics and building interiors in the world. Incorporating both Christian and Muslim motifs, these emphasized their divine right to rule as well as the luxury and magnificence of their court, in a style and manner meant to echo imperial Byzantium and the splendor of the East.
This book is written by two expert scholars. It tells a fascinating story about a period during the Middle Ages when cultures collided and made war on each other over issues of politics, religion, and wealth (much like the present day). With many views of the famous mosaics in Cefalù, Monreale, and Palermo, its 275 color illustrations and four maps provide a beautiful visual complement to an authoritative text.
Adele Cilento is Professor of Byzantine History at l’Università degli Studi in Florence. She received a doctorate in Medieval History from l’Università degli Studi in Turin, where she began her work on the period of Byzantine rule in southern Italy from the ninth to eleventh centuries, with particular attention to the history of monasticism. Along with her university teaching, she is active as a freelance journalist with magazines and specialized periodicals such as Medioevo. Among her publications are: Potere e monachesimo – Ceti dirigenti e mondo monastico nella Calabria bizantina, Florence, 2000; and Bisanzio in Sicilia e nel sud dell’Italia, Udine, 2006.
Alessandro Vanoli teaches Comparative Politics of the Mediterranean at ‘Università degli Studi in Bologna. He received a doctorate in European Social History from l’Università degli Studi in Venice, concentrating on the study of Islam and its interactions with Jewish and Christian culture from the Middle Ages up to the modern period. Prof. Vanoli has worked with the Rizzoli publishing house on various projects relating to Judaism and Islam. Among his publications are: I cammini dell’Occidente – Il Mediterraneo tra i secoli IX e X, Padua, 2001; Alle Origini della Reconquista, Turin, 2003; and La Spagna delle tre culture – Tra storia e mito, Rome, 2006.
“Arabs and Normans in Sicily and the South of Italy”
by Adele Cilento and Alessandro Vanoli
hardcover, 309 pages, 10-1/2 x 12-1/2″
271 illustrations in color, 4 in b&w, 4 maps
published: April 2008
|May 28, 2013 6:00 pm||to||July 27, 2013 6:00 pm|
La Materia di un Sogno – Collezione Palo Brodbeck, curated by Gianluca Collica, Alessandra Ferlito and Gianpiero Vincenzo and promoted by the Fondazione Brodbeck in Catania, is opening today. The exhibition showcases artworks by Gabriella Ciancimino, Carmelo Nicosia and Carmelo Nicotra on eight bus lines around the streets of downtwon Catania. This initiative is one of the many that precede the opening on May 25 at 5:00PM of one of the most important contemporary exhibitions that Sicily has hosted in the last few years.
For more information, please contact:
|July 21, 2013|
|9:00 pm||to||11:00 pm|
Luisa Kuliok, the Argentine actress who moved Italy as protagonist of the Woman of Mystery, returns to Taormina. On July 21, Kairospn presents Luisa Kuliok in The String of Pearls, a monologue by Helena Tritek, adapted in Italian and directed by Piero Nicosia, at the Teatro Antico in Taormina.
The show is a theatrical journey of epic tones that through poems, stories, philosophy and ancient fables confronts the themes of life, love, war, starting with the strong message of dialogue among religions. On stage the versatile actress becomes different characters. The live music, written by master Giallanza, is performed by Calogero Giallanza (flute), Augusta Giraldi (harp) Paolo Rossetti (percussion).
More at Taoarte.it
Address: Corso Umberto, 19
Phone: +39 0942 21142
Fax: +39 0942 23348
|July 26, 2013|
Roberto Bolle and some of the brightest stars of the American Ballet in NY perform at the ancient theater of Taormina on July 26. A unique and special event that Taormina Arte, in collaboration with Artedanza and Musica and Suoni of Nuccio La Ferlita, offers to the enthusiastic public of dancing. L’étoile of La Scala, already in Taormina in 2009, for the first time this year has managed to achieve an exceptional project: gathering around him some of the greatest talents who animate the ballet season at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
More at www.taoarte.it
More at Taoarte.it
Address: Corso Umberto, 19
Phone: +39 0942 21142
Fax: +39 0942 23348
|April 11, 2013 9:00 pm||to||April 14, 2013 9:00 pm|
The Duke of Aumale was the son of Louis Philippe, the first “bourgeois” King, known as the King of the French. He was exiled from his beloved France and in Sicily found a land where he could apply the agricultural precepts of Virgil, an author also loved by his childhood educator Cuvilliere-Fleury, who transmitted to the young Duke his love for books, art and wine.
The production of the Vin de Zucco began in 1856 in an avant-garde winery which provided work for the majority of the population of Montelepre.
Zucco’s wines became famous for their purity winning fifteen international awards. This natural wine was obtained only with a five-year ageing in oak barrels without adding any alcohol and was appreciated by European kings and rulers.
Unfortunately, these wines are no longer produced today but they have left indelible memories at the Castle of Chantilly in France and the Feudo Zucco in the province of Palermo.
Pietro Galioto, biological agriculturist, has inherited a piece of the old Zucco estate from his father. “I grew up listening to the legends about the Duke told by old field-workers”, he says. One day Pietro hears a voice … the call of the Zucco wine which surpasses time and will perhaps change his life…
This fascinating story captured by Lidia Rizzo, young Sicilian movie director, and becomes a film. Lidia Rizzo – disciple of Folco Quilici, a renowned documentary filmmaker – has also directed other works such as “Sicilia, un Mare di Vino” (Sicily, a Sea of Wine) and “Isole del Vento Divino” (Islands of God’s Winds). The documentary, a Blue Film production already presented at the Biennial of Venice, will be shown at the 16th International Sonoma Film Festival April 11 through 14, 2013.
For further information:
The trailer of the documentary
|January 10, 2013 6:00 pm||to||February 3, 2013 6:00 pm|
Palermo – city of art – hosts a prestigious art event, the 1st International Art Biennial The exhibit under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage of the Region of Sicily, the Province and Municipality of Palermo, aims promoting the city as a cultural protagonist of the Mediterranean area.
The event supported by Sandro Serradifalco has the collaboration of personalities of the world of art and culture such as as Vittorio Sgarbi, renowned art critic.
The committee under the direction of Paolo Levi – another art critic and writer – selected 814 works of art of some of the finest international and Italian artists. The selection offers a wide view of the modern and contemporary art scene.
The Palermo Biennial puts art at the center of attention and brings out innovative forms of artistic expression. The exhibition wants to represent the connection between past and present and dedicates a special section to the most influential artists of XIX century.
The Biennial takes place in four different locations: the Politeama Theater, the Loggiato San Bartolomeo and Villa Malfitano Whitaker are within Palermo. In Monreale, the Museo Civico d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea “Giuseppe Sciortino” host the fourth site of the exhibit dedicated to international artists as well as the 19th century collection.
Visitors will experience the magnificence of Norman monuments, baroque and Liberty style architecture, Arab gardens through artistic creativity.
The Biennial Exhibition will be inaugurated on January 10 and will remain open through February 3.
For more information:
|July 27, 2012|
|12:00 am||to||11:00 pm|
|July 28, 2012|
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First edition of Piazza in Opera 2012 organized by CALT Comitato Amici della Lirica Trappeto (Friends of Lirics Committee of Trappeto).
The project – self-funded and sponsored by the town of Trappeto – features an extraordinary cast: Annie Sophie Duprels, Aldo Di Toro, Christine Buffle, Marcin Bronikowski, Fédéric Bourreau, Quirijn de Lang and Eric Roberts.
Rosalba Lo Duca, art director and Italian language coach in Europe’s most prestigious theaters, founded the organization in 2011 with the purpose of promoting and supporting the opera music culture in Sicily.
“Opera is our most famous made-in-Italy product in the world”, says Rosalba Lo Duca, “Melodrama in our project becomes pole of attraction for tourism and culture. Our idea is to lead people towards opera not through traditional channels as theaters, but in the town square, the piazza which in Sicily is the town’s social meeting place.”
This no-profit project has been self-funded through different initiatives held during the year by the people in Trappeto.
For information and ticket reservation
Trappeto (prov. of Palermo), July 27 and 28, 2012 - 9:00 pm
Piazza Umberto I
How to get there
From Palermo: A29 Expressway direction Trapani, exit Partinico, right turn SS 113, left turn SS 187, exit Trappeto.
This magnificent Sicilian statue considered one of the finest examples of classical Greek marble scupltures will be displayed at the British Museum in London in honor of the forthcoming 2012 Olympic Games.
The museum is featuring 12 star objects on the theme of winning, including the rarely loaned sculpture discovered on the small island of Mothya just off the West coast of Sicily in 1979.
Dating from the Fifth century BC, the white marble statue about two meters high represents a winning charioteer proudly relishing victory.
The charioteer of Mothya – testimonial of Sicily’s artistic and cultural heritage – is result of a collaborative agreement between the British Museum and the Assessorato dei Beni Culturali e dell’Identità Siciliana.
Diego Pascal Panarello has a dream… Watch the video
We are in Sicily, on the railway which goes around Mt. Etna. The volcano’s lava stones evoke lunar atmospheres. Our trip into the unknown world of the jew’s harp begins. Ethnomusicologists, blacksmiths, constructors but above all musicians, tell of an ancient musical instrument: the jew’s harp. Often associated to an imagery of the mafia in Sicily, at the same time is used by siberians shamans to induce the state of trance. Not everyone knows that the instrument exists everywhere on earth and is concealed in the corners of each culture. In Yakutia, it is the national instrument and every years thousand of men, women and children play it all together in the steppe as a hymn to happiness. The film, through the encounter with musicians, researchers and manufacturers, is a unique road trip in search of the soul of this instrument.
Sicily is turning into the next spot for contemporary art. Scicli in Southern East Sicily just saw the opening of Quam, an art gallery headquartered in the ancient monastery of Santa Chiara (1660).
Among the artists at Quam are: Breeze (video artist from New York), Robin Astley (Australian painter), Piero Guccione, Franco Sarnari, Sonia Alvarez, Manlio Sacco, Rossana Taormina, Nut, Francesco Rinzivillo, Piero Zuccaro, Canecapovolto and Paolo Parisi.
The gallery will be open from Tuesday through Saturdat from 10AM to 1PM and from 5PM through 9PM; on Sundays and holidays from 6:30AM through 9PM.
For more information, www.tecnicamista.it
AddressTecnica Mista di Antonio Sarnari – Quadrerie del Monastero
via Mormino Penna 79 – Scicli 97018 (RG)
Phone: +39 0932 931154 firstname.lastname@example.org